It is fair to say that brunch has taken over the city. It has gone from a rarity to almost a necessity for most restaurants in the city. For many, it is the largest meal service of the week.
When Sauce(d) opened up in the growing restaurant scene of the West Rodney Parham area earlier this year, the question wasn’t if they were going to do brunch, but when. The answer to when is this upcoming Sunday (September 9th).
While all brunches across the city are not created equal, they certainly share a few common characteristics. Lots of Chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, and grits. Brunch is a very southern affair in Little Rock and the menus around town absolutely reflect it.
Perhaps that is what is so fun with what chef Amanda Ivy did with the brunch lineup here. She took the typical lineup and put a very Sauced twist on everything. It is a bit of fresh air with a very familiar and comforting tone.
Instead of chicken and waffles, for example, they go with Duck ‘n Pancakes. These are fried duck wings atop some fat and fluffy pancakes topped with a sour cherry compote for the sauce (syrup is available upon request, but go with the compote). Duck wings may be my favorite poultry and the pancakes add a great changeup to the Belgium waffle.
“I really wanted to go with something a bit different, but familiar,” chef Ivy says. “We are able to create an iconic dish for the brunch menu here while staying with something people already feel comfortable with.”
The real hidden gem, and maybe even bigger twist, is the Chicken and Biscuit. On the surface, it looks like a simple biscuit stuffed with a fried chicken breast then topped with gravy. The chicken breast is breaded in Italian seasoning that brings a ton of bold flavor to the meat. The gravy is another shocker, instead of simple white gravy they work in parmesan for an almost alfredo sauce taste. It all works together extremely well and is easily the bright spot on an overall well-executed menu.
The breakfast risotto is a nice take on traditional southern grits. The risotto uses rice grits as a base, then it is topped with mushroom gravy and a fried egg. This one can also be made vegetarian by just leaving off the egg, or the opposite by throwing some bacon on the side.
Since opening charcuterie boards have been a big thing at sauced, they get a little playful on their brunch menu with the “brunch board”. This comes with an assortment of cheeses, fruit, jams, and a couple of desserts such as a macaron. It is a fun take on a normally serious spread of food.
Of course, not everyone can be fun. If you just want to be normal and boring, Sauced can handle you too. They have the Petit Jean Platter that comes with eggs, biscuits and gravy, and bacon. You also get the option of grits or fries (pro tip, order the grits). It is about as traditional as you can get. Along the traditional lines, they also plan to do a steak and egg dish that wasn’t available at the time of the preview.
In addition to the main brunch menu they also offer a kids menu that includes options of eggs, bacon, fruit, grits, or silver dollar sized pancakes. Any of you with kids knows how hard it is to get a decent kids brunch option in the city without having to order a full sized meal. They will also offer their standard pizza lineup during brunch as well.
On the brunch drink side, they will have a trio of bloody mary options that increase in heat level (regular, jalapeno, and habanero), mimosa buckets, their full line of beer or wine, juice, and fresh french press coffee.
The brunch menu kicks off this Sunday at 10am until 4pm.